August 09 – Discovery of Asteroid 165 Loreley (1876)

Asteroid 165 Lorely was discovered today in 1876 by C H F Peters.

Named after the Lorelei of Germanic legend, a siren, similar to Wagner’s Rhine maidens, who sat above the rock of the same name on the Rhine and distracted sailors with her looks and song.

Rhinemaidens
Rhinemaidens

Today’s photograph features (centre) the great German soprano Lilli Lehmann (1848-1929), one of the singers at the first Bayreuth Festival of Richard Wagner’s music, and who helped popularise Wagner in the United States. She is shown here as part of the 1876 premiere cast of the Ring.

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ALSO TODAY . . . .
1975 – Launched today, into an eccentric orbit (to keep it out of the way of the Earth’s radiation belts) was the COS-B spacecraft, an ESA mission with the sole aim of measuring gamma-rays using a spark chamber,
in which the incoming rays were converted into an electron and a positron (causing the spark). Analysis of the spark allowed Cos-B to calculate the direction from which the gamma-ray had come. Cos-B was highly successful, not least in terms of lifespan. This had been estimated at 2 years, but ended up at over 6 years.

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